Clean creeks and more on eating squirrel

Chico Clean Creeks Calendar 2011 is here,
and William Hovey Smith weighs in

Chico Clean Creeks Calendar 2011 cover.

Chico Clean Creeks Calendar 2011 cover.

Happy new year!
Jennifer Oman-Payne, storm-water management education and outreach coordinator for the city of Chico, informed me that the new Chico Clean Creeks Calendar 2011 (pictured) is available at the Chico branch of the Butte County Library (1108 Sherman Ave.), Chico City Hall (411 Main St.) and the CARD Center (545 Vallombrosa Ave.).

Featuring creek shots taken by a number of local photographers—including Karen Laslo and Larry Leigh—the calendar aims to raise public awareness of the importance of maintaining the health of our creeks by keeping pollutants from entering them via gutters and storm drains.

“This was the best turnout so far,” said Clean Creeks Calendar project coordinator Andy Willhoit, of last fall’s contest submissions for the fourth-annual calendar. “We got hobbyists, professionals, and this was the first year that the Chico High School Photography Club participated.

“In addition to celebrating our beautiful [water] resource each month,” said Willhoit, “the calendar offers helpful, watershed-friendly tips,” such as this one from February: “If you smoke, please use ashtrays to dispose of your cigarette butts. Cigarette butts littered on the streets wash directly into our creeks where the toxic chemicals that are trapped in the filter leak into waterways, threatening the quality of the water and many aquatic life forms.”

He also pointed out the calendar’s handy back page, with a large list of resources such as local Clean Water Business Partners (Willhoit’s business, Home Prep, is one of them), information on waste disposal and recycling, Bidwell Park volunteer opportunities and a Creek Watch hotline number to call to report illegal dumping into city storm drains and creeks.

Willhoit wants to “plant a seed for people to think about taking some late winter and spring shots” for submission in the fall for next year’s calendar. “We usually get a lot of fall shots,” he explained.

Calendars are free. Go to to view calendar (in downloadable PDF format).

photo courtesy of Paula Beehner

More about eating squirrels
I got an e-mail from William Hovey Smith, the Georgia hunter (and author of several books) that I mentioned in last week’s column in connection with the increasing popularity of squirrel meat on British dinner tables.

Smith offered a few tips on cooking squirrel: “Adult squirrels need to be cooked in moisture for a considerable time to make them tender enough to eat. You can fry young squirrels with an onion gravy and they will turn out well, and serve with grits, as we do here in the South, or over potatoes.

“When handling squirrels or any wild game meat of uncertain origin,” he added, “it is always prudent to wear rubber gloves.

“I also do serious cooking with swan, deer, road-killed deer, wild hogs (boars), carp (various species) and wild turkeys,” said Smith.

His YouTube channel, wmhoveysmith, features videos on such things as alligator hunting, cleaning a road-killed deer, cooking deer stew, cleaning and cooking wild turkey and how to make squirrel dumplings.

Go to Smith’s website,, for more info and to order his books, such as Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound.

“With the 2008 economic downturn, the need for such a book became increasingly apparent,” Smith writes of Backyard Deer Hunting, which also covers other game animals and includes 50 recipes.